‘Kerala accounts for 68.59% of India’s Covid-19 cases’, says health ministry; cautions second wave not over

The southern state of Kerala accounts for 68.59% of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases India reported last week, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Thursday, adding that in the past 24 hours the state contributed 32,000 cases to India’s single-day tally of 43,263. Bhushan also cautioned that the country is still in the throes of the second wave, and it is not over yet.

43,263 reported in the past 24 hours, over 32,000 from Kerala. Almost 68% of total cases in last week were from Kerala. We’re still witnessing the second surge, it’s not over,” Bhushan said at a media briefing.

In terms of fatalities, Kerala reported 181 deaths on Thursday against India’s single day death toll of 338. However, till date the highest number of fatalities has been recorded by Maharashtra.

The southern state’s latest jump in Covid-19 cases comes after a week-long decline in the daily tally of cases. An increase in the number of daily Covid-tests has led to the sudden spike in cases. A total of 1,71, 295 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, of which 30,196 turned out to be positive, bringing the test positivity rate (TPR) to 17.63%.

It is natural that cases will go up once tests are increased. The state should have increased tests a couple of months back,” public health expert Dr SS Lal told Hindustan Times.

The Kerala unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that more than half the tests conducted were antigen tests instead of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, which was once considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of Covid-tests by the health ministry.

In cities like Delhi, which witnessed a brutal second wave, 70% of the total tests conducted to identify infected patients in the last five months were RT-PCR tests, according to government data.